Issue 46 - 9 August 2022
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately Varroa mite has spread further since our last newsletter, requiring all beekeepers to be even more vigilant. However, there is some research underway to help deal with this emergency.

Learn more about foot and mouth and lumpy skin disease on a national webinar TONIGHT!

Ear tags for sheep and goats in NSW is being considered, learn about the 2022 Farm Business Coaching program, understand how genetic technology can be used to control feral cats and discover a new tailored small farm insurance package.

If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register HERE. To view previous newsletters, click HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you, please email or phone me on 0436 803 337

Richard Stephens
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) 

Varroa mite emergency order is in place

Varroa mite (Varroa destructor), a bee parasite with the potential to devastate our honey and pollination industries, has been found in more locations throughout NSW.

All European honey bee hives should be registered, click HEREand all beekeepers should regularly check the latest update HERE,

If you detect Varroa mite, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline to report your detection on 1800 084 881 (9am to 5pm, 7 days a week).

There are two methods for detecting Varroa mite in hives, an 'Alcohol check' and the 'Sugar shake'. 

To help deal with this emergency, several lines of research have been initiated:
European honey bee with varroa mite (Varroa destructor)
Foot and mouth and lumpy skin disease

Australia currently has a disease-free status for foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease. However all landholders need to play an active role in monitoring and reporting any suspect cases.

These emergency animal diseases have recently been reported in countries close to our international borders. It is critical that:
  • all livestock owners know what these diseases look like
  • that you check your animals regularly
  • that you report any suspect signs immediately to your local district vet (1300 795 299) or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on (1800 675 888).
Local Land Services staff are on the ground to help you protect your livestock and industry from these exotic diseases. Join our dedicated biosecurity mailing list to get the latest updates and look up your local emergency animal disease information sessions HERE.
Soil abounds with life
Under your feet lies the most biodiverse habitat on Earth. The soil on which we walk supports the majority of life on the planet. Without the life in it, it wouldn’t be soil. Unfortunately, Australia’s soils are not in good shape. The new State of the Environment report rates our soils as “poor” and “deteriorating”. The majority of life underneath is invisible to the naked eye, being bacteria, nematodes, and fungi. Without this microbiota, ecosystems would collapse. Read about it HERE. 
Annual Land and Stock Returns due soon
Your Annual Land and Stock Return (ALSR) should have already arrived in your letterbox. Essentially a ‘farm census’ on 30 June 2022, it provides important info on land use and livestock numbers across NSW. With threats like bushfire, flood, drought, biosecurity concerns (such as Foot and Mouth disease), knowing how many animals are in certain areas helps ensure emergency fodder and water supplies can be met. To avoid additional charges, ALSRs are due by 31 August 2022. Click HERE. 
Are you our next Board member?
Local people are invited to apply to join the Greater Sydney Local Land Services Board. Two new board members are needed to help improve LLS services for all local landholders. Applications are welcomed from people of all walks of life. For more information, click HERE.
Update - planning amendments for agriculture  
The agritourism reforms aim to make it easier for farmers to diversify their farming business and support the growing demand for farm-based tourism. Under the proposed reforms many agritourism activities will now be listed as exempt development (where no planning or building approval is needed) or complying development (a fast-track approval issued by a private certifier or the council usually for building work). It is envisaged the exempt and complying development provisions will cover most forms of agritourism. Click HERE.
More rain is on the way

The official rainfall outlook for NSW indicates that there is a moderately high to very high chance of above median rainfall for the next three months, click HERE. Also, the Bureau of Meteorology declared a negative Indian Ocean Dipole was under way. This will cause more moisture-laden air to flow to Australia and fuels the north-west cloud bands that develop over north-western Australia, extending to the south-east of the continent. Click HERE.
Ear tags for sheep
In NSW, cattle are already individually tagged to help trace any emergency disease outbreak, but not sheep or goats. Victoria already has individual e-tags for sheep and goats, and now NSW is considering this. Given the current outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia, there are calls for the urgent development of a compulsory scheme to "bolster the country's defence against infectious diseases". Click HERE.
Bird friendly rodent control
How we choose to control rodents can have a deadly impact on our native wildlife. Cold weather is driving more rodents indoors in pursuit of warmth and food and there are reports of growing infestations across the country. There’s never been a more important time to steer clear of bird-killing rodent poisons. Click HERE for some ways you can practice bird-friendly rodent control.
Industry webinar on FMD and LSD 
If you run cloven hoofed livestock, you will know what FMD and LSD is (Foot and Mouth Disease & Lumpy Skin Disease). These diseases are a significant biosecurity risk. Get the latest info on: practical biosecurity and traceability actions, effective disease responses and what to do in the first 72 hours after an outbreak. Join this industry webinar with Meat & Livestock Australia & Animal Health Aust., TONIGHT! 6pm, 9 August 2022, click HERE.
Rainforest plant identification and restoration 
Central Coast landholders can learn about rainforest plant identification and restoration projects on 10 August (Online) and 13 August (face to face) at Ourimbah. Local rainforest expert Trish Meagher, Local Land Services staff and Landcare volunteers will cover the importance of and diversity within Central Coast rainforests. Includes a webinar followed by a site visit and tree planting at a local Landcare site. Click HERE.

Farm walk - IPM in protected cropping
The Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) project is holding a face to face event on how vegetable growers can incorporate integrated pest management (IPM) in protected cropping environments. To be held at 10am to 12.30pm on 17 August, 2022 at Family Fresh Farms, Peats Ridge. Registration essential, limited spots available. For more information, click HERE.

National renewables in Agriculture
This conference and expo will cover on-farm renewables and how farmers can cut costs and emissions. To be held in Albury on 18 August, a wide range of experts will cover future farm vehicles, energy sharing, batteries, grazing under solar, bioenergy and hydrogen. An optional field trip is also planned for 19 August, (limited tickets). For more information, click HERE.
Nextgen Landcare youth forum
Join Costa Georgiadis and the Intrepid Landcare team for a high impact forum to connect like-minded young people passionate about the environment. Young leaders will share their experiences, tips and knowledge on how to make a meaningful difference. This event is for high school students, senior primary school students or youth group members aged 18 years or under. The 2022 NextGen Landcare Youth Forum is a free online event or face to face at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, 10.30am to 2pm on Tuesday 23 August, click HERE.
2022 National Landcare Conference - Sydney 
Be there at Darling Harbour or join virtually, 24 to 25 August 2022. 'The Power of Landcare - Shaping Our Future' conference has six concurrent streams; Landcare Farming and Emerging Environmental Markets, Environment and Climate Change, Community Partnerships in Action, Landcare Impact, Urban Landcare and First Nations Peoples. Various tours will be held on 23 August. For more information, click HERE.
Accounting for Nature
What is 'environmental accounting' and what can it be used for? This one day workshop, 26 August 2022, will be held in the Hawkesbury region. To be presented by Amanda Hansson and Chrissy Elmer from Accounting for Nature. Learn about environmental condition and how is it measured, account stratification, aggregating field data, certification as well as measuring the condition of native vegetation, soils and fauna. Numbers are limited. For more information and to register, click HERE.
Woodland walk
This event is specifically for landholders to have a guided walk through the beautiful Cumberland Plain Woodland grounds of Wivenhoe at Cobbitty. See areas that were once weed infested and are now regenerating with the help of bush regeneration principles and learn about key plant species that make up the Cumberland Plain Woodlands. To be held at Cobbitty, 9:30am to 1:00pm on Saturday 27 August 2022. Click HERE. 
Urban agriculture month 
Celebrate and raise awareness of Australia’s growing urban agriculture movement. From 1 to 30 November 2022, join Sustain for the second national Urban Agriculture Month. The month will feature a range of self-generated events, from open gardens, workshops, guided tours, and communal feasts, to other hands-on learning experiences. Learn more HERE. Create and register your urban agriculture events HERE or Twitter handle #UrbanAgricultureMonth
Australia's largest sustainable farming expo  
Norco's Primex field day 2022 includes: Australian beef battle of the breeds championship; The Nourish Pavilion - where farmers and foodies meet; Business Investment & Innovation Hub – the latest in agri-tech; Diverse livestock displays and demonstrations; Caravan, 4WD, Outdoor Leisure and Lifestyle Showcase; Farmyard Animals; NextGen schools and farming programs; Various guest speakers and networking events. NSW Northern Rivers, 10-12 November 2022, click HERE.
Ag Catalyst 2022 

CSIRO is holding its popular, energetic and free AgCatalyst event again in 2022. Discover what CSIRO and partners are working on to prepare our agriculture and food sectors for a challenging future. AgCatalyst 2022 - Facing the Future will be held on 22-23 November at Luna Park, Milsons Point, Sydney. Discover how we are building drought and climate resilience to meeting consumer demands for foods of the future. Click HERE.


Farm business resilience program
The farm business resilience program is for farmers, farm managers, and their employees, who want to upskill and learn about risk management, how to adapt to a changing climate, and improve the economic, environ., and social resilience of their business. It provides business coaching to subsidise learning & development opportunities in strategic business, farm risk and natural resource management along with personal and social resilience. For more information and eligibility criteria, click ​HERE.​ Applications close 31 August, 2022.
Severe storm and flood assistance
Severe storms and flood can significantly affect primary producers beyond their own resilience levels. For a list of financial assistance, primary producer support and animal welfare help, click HERE and
HERE.  For Hawkesbury landholder help with preparing grant applications, contact Heidi Rookyard at [email protected]  Also, NSW primary producers affected by severe storm or flood are asked to complete a natural disaster damage survey. The survey can be submitted at any time and completed by an agricultural industry representative. Click HERE.
Soil week competition
Primary and secondary schools can participate in a healthy soils competition by coming up with a compelling way to explore the wonderful world of soil and highlight why it's so important. The first prize for primary schools is $1000, runner-up $500. The winning secondary school student will receive a $500 JB Hi-Fi voucher plus $1000 for their school. Participants, and schools must register before 4 September 2022, entries open until 25 October. Click HERE. Soil Week Australia is 5 to 12 December.
Compensation package for beekeepers affected by varroa mite

An $18 million compensation package has been created for registered beekeepers affected by the varroa mite outbreak. Apiarists can be reimbursed for the loss of equipment, hives and bees. The package also includes support for amateur beekeepers who have registered their hives. For more information, click HERE. 
Helping farmers with energy savings
The Energy Efficiency Council, along with the National Farmers Federation, have developed a guide to help farmers with energy savings. Given the significant amount of energy required in food production and electricity bills more than doubling for some farmers, the guide also highlights tax depreciation incentives available.
Click HERE.


Draft biosecurity and food safety strategy
A consultation draft of the NSW Biosecurity and Food Safety Strategy 2022-2030 has been released. Have your say by 1 September 2022. The draft strategy recognises the interactions between people, plants, animals, the food we eat, and our environment. The consultation draft has been developed to draw on the concept of ‘One Health’ to deliver optimal biosecurity and food safety outcomes, and contribute to the state’s economic, social, and environmental prosperity. Click HERE. 
National wild dog action plan
A national survey on landholder needs in regard to wild dog management opens on 15 August. Results from the survey will be used to provide  what land managers need in their area, gauge the impacts of community based wild dog control programs, support landholder productivity and inform engagement activities. integrated programs targeting multiple pest species will also be developed. Survey closes 30 September 2022, click 
Ag census data now available
New data on Australian agriculture is now available on:
Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced
Agricultural Commodities
Water Use on Australian Farms

This data reveals that Australia has 387 million hectares of agricultural land. Of which, 332 million hectares is used for grazing and 32 million hectares is used for cropping. In 2020-21 Australian agriculture saw a 17 per cent increase in value to $71 billion.
Influencing where and how wildfires strike 
Scientists can now measure changes in fire weather (humidity, temperature, rainfall and wind) to rate the level of danger of a wildfire striking. A new global analysis has found in many regions of the world, the pace at which fire weather conditions are increasing is accelerating faster than climate models predicted. Fighting fires in naturally fire-prone landscapes can suppress blazes for a time, but these forests can end up accumulating excessive vegetation fuel, contributing to more severe fires. HERE. 
Food security during extreme weather events
When Australian communities are hit by hazardous events like bushfire, cyclones or flooding, it often causes major disruption to the supply of essential items like food and fuel. But a computer modelling tool that was originally designed to reduce costs in the livestock sector is now being used to help in these challenging situations. Learn more, click HERE.  
Support for using genetics to manage feral cats
New genetic technologies could help address the rise of invasive species, like feral cats, by influencing the sex of offspring, therefore reducing the number of animals able to reproduce. Feral cats kill about 3.2 million mammals, 1.2 million birds, 1.9 million reptiles and 250,000 frogs per day in Australia, most of which are native species. They have been a main driver of 27 animal extinctions in Australia. For more information, click HERE.


Tailored small farm insurance
After five years of development, tailored small farm insurance is now available. Farmstyle Insurance provides coverage for small farms between 2ha and 100ha with an annual turnover of less than $50,000. This insurance includes home property and liability. Optional cover can include farm property, sheds, fences, livestock, hay, produce, pumps, solar panels, vehicles and more. For more information, click
Regen Farmers Mutual 
Regen Digital is a platform that enables farmers to create a digital twin of their farm and obtain an  assessment of its environmental value. Farmers can then model different environmental actions and how they may impact their operations and income. Ultimately, Regen Digital helps farmers capture the ‘green’ credentials of their farm, transact and manage environmental market contracts and use the platform to demonstrate the green provenance of their produce. Click 
Landcarer V2 is here!
The new Landcarer V2 can provide even better connections to an incredible array of resources and enable you to share your challenges, opportunities and successes. This platform upgrade enables the sharing of critical information in real time, view content without logging in, engage in structure discussion boards, explore communities of practice, opt in to receive email updates and gives improved mobile responsiveness. Click HERE.
Varroa mite activity for schools
The NSW Department of Primary Industries  Schools program has a new resource that provides a quick overview of the current outbreak of varroa mite. It covers: How did we know they were here; Why is it such a big deal; and What happens now? This resource will help students understand the widespread significance of this biosecurity risk and is designed for primary and early high school students. Click HERE.
Trees near me NSW
Trees Near Me NSW is an easy-to-use mobile and website app for maps and information about Plant Community Types in NSW. Explore and learn more about NSW native plant communities and plant species in your local environment, search for individual tree and plants pictures and descriptions and understand 
what vegetation used to be found in now cleared areas. Click
Environmental Markets Leadership Program
The Environmental Markets Leadership Program gives farmers and land managers skills, confidence and networks to identify, market and benefit from their natural assets and provide vital environmental services. Environmental services are generated from sustainable land management practices and healthy environments by creating clean air and water, nutrient rich soils, and habitat for native plants and animals. Participants will be empowered to lead the development of new environmental services markets, click 
Various new flood support resources
- Learn about preparing Emergency Plans in Isolated Communities 
- Winter 2022 Cattle Health Update for the Hunter region
Grazing and Livestock Management over Winter -
Disease Risk from Flood Waters and Flooded Pasture - extract from May 2015 Hunter Animal Health Newsletter
- DPI's 
Flood Recovery Support Service offering case management support to flood affected landholders
- The NSW EPA is offering 
support with flood debris clean up
This project is supported by Greater Sydney Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. 
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser. For updates go to www.lls.nsw.gov.au 
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